‘Sea Eagle’ – The Official Name of the Pakistan Navy’s ATR-72 Maritime Patrol Aircraft
At the 2019 Paris Air Show (17-23 June), the Pakistan Navy (PN), Rheinland Air Service (RAS), and Aerodata exhibited the PN’s ATR-72 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA). The official designation of the PN’s ATR-72 MPA is ‘Sea Eagle’ and is slated to replace the PN’s aging F-27 Fokker MPAs.
The Sea Eagle is configured with the following:
In a press release, the Director of RAS’ Special Mission Aircraft Division, Nikolaos Mavrikis, stated:
“With its long endurance and low operating costs, along with excellent parts and maintenance availability, the ATR 72 series was the ideal platform to fulfill our client’s most demanding operational needs for maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare missions.”
Currently, RAS and Aerodata AG hope that the PN will order up to two additional MPAs. However, the Sea Eagle program could also shape the PN’s plans for a new-generation long-range maritime patrol aircraft (LRMP) to complement and, eventually, supplant the P-3Cs. In an interview, the PN’s Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, stated that the PN is seeking a new LRMP.
One avenue for this LRMP project could involve a bespoke design using commercially off-the-shelf (COTS) subsystems – such as the Leonardo Seaspray AESA radar – and subcontractors to design and execute the project (akin to RAS with the Sea Eagle). It can also use the same subsystems as the Sea Eagle as well, and scale the training and maintenance infrastructure overhead in the process.
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